“Girls and women with intellectual disabilities must know their rights!”

``Girls and women with intellectual disabilities must know their rights!``

Click here for the easy-to-read version

Women and girls with disabilities are at greater risk of becoming victims of violence, neglect or exploitation – and if they have an intellectual disability, they are even more vulnerable, as they can often not defend themselves. This is why it is important that “girls and women with intellectual disabilities know their rights” and are taught about gender equality. Thérèse Kempeneers-Foulon, former Inclusion Europe president and board member, and former director of our Belgian member Inclusion asbl, made this clear at the Public Hearing of the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM Committee) on “The situation and rights of women with disabilities”.

The hearing had been organised to provide input for the own initiative report on this topic, on which the Committee will work in 2018. It was chaired by Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, an MEP participants had met at Inclusion Europe’s leadership training, which had dealt with the issue of violence against women with intellectual disabilities.

“Discrimination ‘by association’ should be forbidden in all EU member states”

Thérèse Kempeneers-Foulon also pointed out how mothers of children with intellectual disabilities are frequently discriminated against “by association”, meaning because they are often the main caretakers for their children, which has effects on their possibilities for employment and personal development: “Discrimination ‘by association’ should be forbidden in all EU member states” was therefore one of her demands.

The rapporteur, Rosa Estaras Ferragut, explained that the recommendations of the FEMM Committee will reflect the specific vulnerability of people with an intellectual disability, and also not fail to mention the role of mothers and the discrimination they face.

Inclusion Europe welcomes this and will closely follow the development of the report througout 2018.

More information:

Inclusion Europe’s “Life after Violence” project deals with the question how women with an intellectual disability cope with institutionalized violence.


Easy-to-read version

Click on a word which is in bold to read what it means.

Women and girls with disabilities can often be victims of violence. 

Women and girls with intellectual disabilities can also often be
victims of violence. 

It is hard for women and girls with intellectual disabilities
to protect themselves against violence.  

It is very important that girls and women with disabilities
know their rights.  

It is also very important that girls and women with disabilities
are taught about equality between men and women.  

Thérèse Kempeneers-Foulon talked about violence against
girls and women with disabilities at a meeting of the
European Parliament’s FEMM Committee.  

Thérèse Kempeneers-Foulon is the former director of Inclusion asbl.  

Inclusion asbl is Inclusion Europe’s Belgian Member. 

The European Parliament’s FEMM Committee is a committee
that works on the rights of women. 

The Committee tries to get women the same rights as men.  


The meeting of the committee was on the situation and the rights
of women with disabilities.  

The meeting happened because the FEMM committee is going to write
a report next year. 

The report will be about what we can do  
to help women with disabilities.  

The meeting was led by Vilija Blinkevičiūtė. 

is a Member of the European Parliament. 

Vilija Blinkevičiūtė participated in Inclusion Europe’s leadership training.  

Inclusion Europe’s leadership training talked about how to stop violence against women with intellectual disabilities.  

At the meeting Thérèse Kempeneers-Foulon also talked about
the rights of family members of people with intellectual disabilities.  

She spoke about how mothers of children with intellectual disabilities
are often discriminated against too.  

This is because mothers of children with intellectual disabilities
are often the main person who looks after their child.  

This can make it hard for the mothers to get jobs
and to meet other people.  

Thérèse Kempeneers-Foulon said that countries should not be allowed to discriminate against family members of people with disabilities.  


Rosa Estaras Ferragut helped lead the meeting.  

Rosa Estaras Ferragut spoke about the report
that the FEMM Committee will release. 

She said that the report will talk about how specifically women and girls with intellectual disabilities are affected by violence.  

She also said the report will talk about the role of mothers
and how they are discriminated against.  

Inclusion Europe is glad that the committee will keep in mind
women and girls with intellectual disabilities. 

Inclusion Europe will keep following what happens with the report.